Make a Felted Dala Horse Ornament

Felted Dala Horse!  A perfect ornament to make to celebrate Santa Lucia Day on December 13th!

Stepping away from traditional red because my eyes love this gorgeous teal blue,  But I have one cut from red wool to work on during a blogging break!

I have chosen to make mine from my stash of colorful Pendleton blanket weight wool scraps, but wool felt or felted wool sweaters or felted wool fabric would work equally well.

You will need:

wool felt fabric
roving or worsted yarns
wool or perle cotton embroidery yarn
needle with a large eye to accommodate the yarn
felting needle
foam felting pad
a bit of fiber fill for stuffing
paper and pencil

Begin by making a pattern.  I did a little internet search and drew my own, but you could trace one if an image is available to you!  Or you may "borrow" mine!

You can see it took me several tries to get the back end to look the way I wanted!

Cut out your pattern. 

I cut two horse patterns so I could make absolutely sure I placed them on the fabric facing opposite directions.  This is important - otherwise you will end up with two fronts or two backs!

I also cut patterns out of wax paper so that as I  moved them around the designs on the Pendleton fabrics I could see what they would look like.  A wax paper pattern would be very helpful if you are planning to use a patterned fabric for your horse - or any other animal for that matter.

Ready to begin felting!

Just for reference, here is a closer shot of my little practice sample.  Notice that worsted wool yarn felts very well and is easy to use when you wish to create an outline.  However, to fill in an area, roving would work best.

Draw the outline of the design onto your felt with a pencil or sewing chalk.  Your horse should be lying on the foam pad right side facing you.

Pull off a piece of roving about the diameter of a pencil and twist as you see shown above. Place the roving along the line. 

Holding the felting needle as close to vertical as you can, begin attaching the roving to the felt punching the needle through the roving, and into the felt and the pad.  Don't be timid.  You need to be a bit aggressive to push the roving into the felt.

But don't be careless.  Stay totally focused on what you are doing while needle felting. Pay special attention to where you are sticking the needle.  These needles are sharp and I can't even imagine what it must feel like to gety stuck with one.  All those barbs - OUCH!

Roving loves to return to it's untwisted state so you will need to continue to twist as you work you way around the design lines.  Cut excess roving off at the fabric edge, being sure to felt the ends into the fabric.

Back view!  Just so you know what it should look like!

To make the coils, secure your twisted roving (or yarn) in the center of the circle and then begin winding the roving around and around, felting in place with the needle as you go.

When your circle is complete, cut the roving leaving a tiny piece to be felted onto the coil.

If you want a dot of contrasting color in the centers of your circles, felt them on after completing the coils.

Add bits of yarn for the bridle attaching the ends to the inside surface of the horse. Use the image at the top of the post as a placement guide.

Place the front and back of your horse together, right sides facing out - wrong sides together.  Leaving the belly open, blanket stitch around the outside edge of the horse..

Fill lightly with fiber fill and blanket stitch the belly closed.

Attach a yarn loop for hanging.

I only felted a design onto one side of the horse, but you could felt both sides before you stitch them together if you wish.

My Pendleton Dala has a different design on each side!

This little guy was very easy!  Just cut out, blanket stitch around the edges, stuff and hang!

I love how the Pendleton woven design almost duplicates the look of Swedish Dala designs.

Everyone needs at least one Dala horse on their tree! 

I hope I get time to complete my red one before the 13th!


As you already know your Dala

As you already know your Dala horse is very popular. I came across this post while clicking on links, so glad I did now as I am so enamored of your little horse. The colors are so alive. How did you come to learn about the Dala horse?

Don't know that I'll be as ambitious to needlefelt but will do embellishing, can't resist. I pretty much do things as I go along, don't plan ahead, just go with what creative urge grabs me at the time, seem to do better that way.
I make alot of ornaments every year to share with friends and family, it's kind of expected now. I try to make something different every year. Usually I make paper ornaments but think this year it just might be the Dala horse. I also enjoy working with felt, flannel, etc. I'll be on the lookout for sweaters, materials I can use to make the little Dala horse and thanks, I will use your pattern. I just might have to get started on them soon, not wait til I have to rush. So glad to have a glimpse of your world of photos and projects.

Absolutely love this! I need

Absolutely love this! I need to really get into needle felting. The designs are so soft looking. I'll be linking on Wee Folk Art's Facebook page :)

Thank you very much, for

Thank you very much, for showing this nice decoration together with your detailed instructions!

Love everything Dala (and

Love everything Dala (and Swedish!) I'll be making these ornaments as package decorations at Christmas!

I love this idea! I have a

I love this idea! I have a Dala horse cookie cutter from Ikea and wanted to make ornaments with it this Christmas and now I see that you have already! I think I may try red embroidery on linen!
~ joey ~

Beautiful design! I intend

Beautiful design! I intend to make a replica as close as possible to yours -- gift for horse-lover daughter for St Lucia Day! thank you!

Thanks for this idea. I'm an

Thanks for this idea. I'm an art teacher on the island of Trinidad in the caribbean and have been looking for lovely christmas ideas from around the world for this term. Will be doing this with my kids! :-)

Aww, this is SO CUTE! Thanks

Aww, this is SO CUTE! Thanks so much for these little guys. I'll be linking.

Very cute. I'm filing this

Very cute. I'm filing this idea away for next year - I always have my middle schoolers sew ornaments for their parents for the holidays. These are prefect for Mackinac. Thanks Pam!

Love this Pam...I'm going to

Love this Pam...I'm going to adapt it for the Christmas Craft Day at school (can't trust those little fingers with felting needles) but I think they could embellish a horse for an ornament...just have to round up those Mom volunteers to cut out 120 horses..I'm thinking we could cut it on the fold, where the back is..glue and stuff lightly and then embellish with sequins, buttons, glitter glue etc. I'll let you know how they turn out.
Thanks so much for your recent comments on my are truly awesome!!
Take Care

I am so pleased you have

I am so pleased you have figured out a simple way to share Dala horses with your students!  I love your ideas for glueing, stuffing and embellishing with items that can be glued on.  I hope when they are done you will post the results.

If I were one of your volunteer moms, I would already have my scissors in hand!

I love it!! Gonna make one!

I love it!! Gonna make one!

Are you trying to make me

Are you trying to make me happy?

What a gorgeous little pony.

What a gorgeous little pony. He's charming. I love the fact that he looks all christmasy but still uses colours other than red or green. BTW. Good luck with the interview with your daughter. I'll enjoy listening to it.

What a beautiful idea, Pam!

What a beautiful idea, Pam! Felting the yarn on top of the felt adds a wonderful bit of detail, but I'll probably go the lazy mama route and grab some patterned sweaters from the thrift shop for these. They look almost as nice as your more detailed ones and these last pre-holiday crafting days are growing short!

What a gifted mom!!! Could I

What a gifted mom!!! Could I post it on my blog and link it to yours???

Soooooo cute! I love these. I

Soooooo cute! I love these. I also happen to have all the supplies on hand to make them. What a great idea! I like the wax paper template idea, too!

I love Dala horses. We have a

I love Dala horses. We have a little wooden one that we bought on our honeymoon in California, when we made a day trip to Solvang. Such fun!

That is sooo cute! Thank you

That is sooo cute! Thank you for the detailed directions too! I'm going to have to make me a horsey!

What a nice idea. I have a

What a nice idea. I have a sentimental relationship to dalar horses, I had an aunt who lived in Dalarne for some years, and she gave me a Dalar horse on my ten years birthday, I still have it and is has to be placed on a chest of drawers every christmas.